News / USA

Effort Under Way to Expand US Parks, Playgrounds

Volunteers, Organizations Expand Parks and Playgroundsi
X
June 14, 2013 11:56 AM
Public parks are important to urban life, but green spaces and play areas are rare in many cities. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles that many organizations and volunteers are trying to change that.
Mike O'Sullivan
Public parks are important to urban life, but green spaces and play areas are rare in many cities.  Many organizations and volunteers are trying to change that.

At the Environmental Charter Middle School in the Los Angeles community of Gardena, several hundred volunteers are building a play area, sanding down benches, putting up swings and slides, and adding a touch of green with shrubs and bushes.

“Everyone needs a place to play, no matter how old they are,” noted parent Jennifer Briseno.

Mexican actress/singer Dulce Maria, far left, helps to build a children's playground at City of Lynwood Park, Aug. 29, 2012, in Lynwood, California.Mexican actress/singer Dulce Maria, far left, helps to build a children's playground at City of Lynwood Park, Aug. 29, 2012, in Lynwood, California.
x
Mexican actress/singer Dulce Maria, far left, helps to build a children's playground at City of Lynwood Park, Aug. 29, 2012, in Lynwood, California.
Mexican actress/singer Dulce Maria, far left, helps to build a children's playground at City of Lynwood Park, Aug. 29, 2012, in Lynwood, California.
Play lets the kids engage the world, which they can't always do in the classroom, added school principal Kami Cotler.

“They don't have those opportunities to play with sticks in the mud, and to learn the really powerful lessons you learn when you get to do that,” she explained.

The newly renovated Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has also brought some of its exhibits outdoors.  Kids learn about insects, birds and reptiles in their natural environment, partly on the site of  a former parking lot.  It's part of a new focus, according to landscape architect Mia Lehrer.

“You can enjoy the gardens, but also learn something, if you are inspired to,” she said.

Los Angeles ranks far behind such cities as Minneapolis, New York and San Francisco in its public park space, according to a survey by the non-profit Trust for Public Land.   The Trust's Jodi Delaney said outdoor spaces are important, especially for children.

“Many of them spend one percent of their time in parks," she said. "And 27 percent of their time watching television.”

Delaney said parks are also important for adults.  They are places to relax, exercise and get in touch with nature.

She said Los Angeles ranked 34th in the national survey of cities and their parks.  The survey ranked 50 cities by factors such as level of investment, the size of parks and access to parks in all neighborhoods.

“Where we could do better is a little bit on access,  And the Trust for Public Land is actually working shoulder to shoulder with city and county officials to improve that,” added Delaney.

A charity called KaBOOM! is behind the school playground enhancements in the city of Gardena.  The charity has built hundreds of playgrounds around the United States.   
Getting the community involved is making a difference, said Vaughn Sigmon of CarMax, a seller of used cars.  He brought 170 volunteers from his company.  He said parks and outdoor spaces are important for children, and his company and its workers have pledged to build a total of 30 playgrounds.

“It's the best place to get fresh air, get some exercise,” he stated.

The school in Gardena now has a playground, adding to the outdoor green and play spaces that are so needed in Los Angeles.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid